Tuesday October 15, 2019
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Google Launches Privacy-focused Tools in Some of its Services

In May, the company opened the new Google Safety Engineering Center where it expects the number of privacy engineers to double by the end of 2019

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FILE - A woman walks past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2018. VOA

Google has launched couple of privacy-focused tools in its services like Maps and YouTube to protect its users’ data, including new ways to use Google apps with Incognito Mode, and options to automatically delete data like your Location History, searches and other activities.

In May, Google announced that users could automatically delete Location History and Web and App Activity, which includes things they have searched and browsed.

“We’re bringing Auto-delete to YouTube History. Set the time period to keep your data — 3 months, 18 months, or until you delete it, just like Location History and Web & App Activity — and we’ll take care of the rest,” Google said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Incognito Mode” that has been one of the most popular privacy controls since it launched with Chrome in 2008 and came to YouTube earlier this year is now being rolled out in Google Maps.

“When you turn on ‘Incognito Mode’ in Maps, your Maps activity on that device, like the places you search for, won’t be saved to your Google Account and won’t be used to personalise your Maps experience,” said Eric Miraglia, Director of Product Management, Privacy and Data Protection Office at Google.

Users can turn on “Incognito Mode” by selecting it from the menu that appears when they tap profile photo, and can turn it off at any time to return to a personalised experience with restaurant recommendations, information about commute, and other features.

Incognito mode will start rolling out on Android this month, with iOS coming soon.

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FILE – The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

The company said it is also adding new ways to understand and manage your data in Google Assistant.

“First, when you ask questions like ‘Hey Google, how do you keep my data safe?’ the Assistant will share information about how we keep your data private and secure,” the company added.

In the coming weeks, users will be able to delete Assistant activity from Google Account just by saying things like “Hey Google, delete the last thing I said to you” or “Hey Google, delete everything I said to you last week.”

Google password manager currently automatically protects passwords across different accounts.

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“We’re introducing the Password Checkup, a new feature that — with one click — tells you if any of your passwords are weak, whether you’ve reused them across multiple sites, or if we’ve discovered they’ve been compromised (for example, in a third-party data breach),” Google announced.

In May, the company opened the new Google Safety Engineering Center where it expects the number of privacy engineers to double by the end of 2019. (IANS)

Next Story

Apple Refutes Report of Sharing Safari Data with Tencent or Google

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he believes privacy is "ingrained in the Constitution," but that he's worried about how third-party companies have worked to collect information on us

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Apple, Campus, China
A customer is entering the Apple store in Fairfax, Virginia. VOA

After media reports surfaced that Apple is sending iOS users’ data via its Safari browser to Google and the Chinese tech company Tencent, the Cupertino-based iPhone maker refuted such reports, saying it safeguards people’s information in its own systems and never shares it with third-party players.

A report in reclaimthenet.org stated that “Apple, which often positions itself as a champion of privacy and human rights, may be sending some IP addresses from users of its Safari browser on iOS to Chinese conglomerate Tencent — a company with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party”.

The report focused on Apple’s “fraudulent website warning” system which is built into Apple’s Safari web browser to warn people when they visit sites that are harmful and can trick users into sharing login passwords for banks, email and social media.

“Before visiting a website, Safari may send information calculated from the website address to Google Safe Browsing and Tencent Safe Browsing to check if the website is fraudulent. These browsing providers may also log your IP address,’ read the information on Apple’s “Safari & Privacy” section.

It’s unclear when Apple started allowing Tencent and Google to log some user IP addresses, but one Twitter user reported the change in Safari happened as early as the iOS 12.2 beta in February 2019, said the report.

Google on an Android device. Pixabay

In a statement, the company said it actually doesn’t send information to Google or Tencent.

“Instead, it receives a list of bad websites from both companies and then uses it to protect people as they surf the web. Apple sometimes obscures the information about the website people visit if it requests more information to check if a questionable website is malicious,” CNET reported on Monday, citing Apple’s statement.

Also Read: Kerala Unable to get Medics from Reserved Category

For people concerned about their privacy, the service can be turned off in Safari preferences on the iPhone or Mac.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he believes privacy is “ingrained in the Constitution,” but that he’s worried about how third-party companies have worked to collect information on us. (IANS)